That thrash metal would not have completely evolved without the six-lettered Slayer‘s contribution to the genre is as true as the fact that they have the most violent and crazy fans out of the big four of thrash or any other thrash band for that matter. I know, today it does not matter who or what big four is as the quality of releases have so clearly deteriorated, just that now it is impossible for bands to touch such dizzying heights of success. But to understand the kind of respect a band as massive as Slayer commands, to get a first hand experience of having a fully functional production team handling all things for the performing band, one has to be present in person and watch everything disentangle up close and personal.
Since it was the first time I was watching Slayer I did not have any emotions. I was numb, and I still am even after I’m done watching them. There were a few others around me who were recalling their experiences at past Slayer gigs. As to what song had some chick taking off her tee, and what song made Slayer put a break on their performance because some fan had severely injured himself. And here I was, just a few steps away from the stage. With all these talks happening in the background, those umpteen Slayer DVDs playing in my head and their tracks thumping my heart harder than usual, I was almost ready for Slayer‘s first UK appearance in 2012 at I’ll Be Your Mirror presented by All Tomorrow’s Parties. Boy was I nervous or what! Nervous because I would be in an enclosed venue with Slayer firing rounds at me or because their set-list for the night contained stuff dreams are made of.
Alexandra Palace is a massive indoor venue in London, and they were right when they named it a ‘palace’. Wait till I bring you pictures of what the venue looks like from the outside. You can almost see the whole of London from this place, if you have the eyes for it.
Once stoners Sleep stepped down, a huge Slayer backdrop came on. Chicks and dicks, vying to find a suitable spot to catch a better glimpse of Slayer made for an interesting pass time. With my earplugs in tow, I was ready to be assaulted. Entering the stage from every direction the four members opened the floodgates to restlessness. Even before Slayer broke into a song, the crowd was uncontrollable. Like it was all planned, only this time the plan worked well.
To write about Slayer‘s performance would not just be dumb, but it’d be a fucking mistake which is the very reason I clicked while they performed. Because these are times when pictures speak louder than words. It’s already known that Gary Holt is replacing Jeff Hanneman for of Slayer‘s gigs, as the latter has been hospitalized because a spider bit him. As per the latest Jeff is recovering fast. Apart from the music what I carried back home from this gig was Tom Araya‘s cold stare, Kerry King‘s arms, Gary Holt‘s personality and Dave Lombardo‘s energy. Slayer packaged and presented everything in a way that made even the weak feel strong.
Set-list for the night -
World Painted Blood
Die by the Sword
Dead Skin Mask
South of Heaven
With bodies flying around like a swarm of locusts heading towards you everytime you look in some direction, standing still and clicking these pictures was one of the toughest things I ever did. Luckily I did not require the assistance of paramedics stationed at the venue since I suffered only a few minor bruises, but before Slayer went on stage I had made it a point to remember the exit routes. I wanted to come out alive, so I could narrate this experience. And now my very short wish-list has one less point on it.
Live the Slayer experience through this gallery. Click on them, and keep moving.